Rancho coach Ogston: Facing Montgomery pitcher Lavarta was 'frustrating'

Posted by: PD correspondent Dewey Forget

Familiarity may not breed contempt in local high school baseball circles, but it can certainly be frustrating. Case in point: Rancho Cotate and Montgomery. Vikings’ lefty Kevin Lavarta tossed a two-hitter at Rancho on Friday, a performance Cougars’ coach Jeff Ogston called frustrating.

It seems Ogston and the Cougars know Lavarta well. Ogston coaches the Sonoma County Rebels, an 18-under travel team in the summer. Lavarta and several of the Cougars are teammates on the Rebels.

“Kevin, he’s a frustrating guy. … I’ve coached him,” said Rancho coach Jeff Ogston. “Many of our kids have played with him for one or two years. With Kevin you know what you are going to get.

“The last five or six games we’ve been hitting the ball really well. That’s why the first six innings were so frustrating. It wasn’t until the last two innings that we started to hit.”

Ogston could have added by then it was too late. Lavarta was in a groove, most of his pitches were working.

Ogston went on to explain that Lavarta is just wild enough to keep batters honest. Digging in against him, or leaning out over the plate looking for his tailing fastball, is a sure way to get plunked or jammed.

And speaking of hitting, the Vikings are a group of clutch hitters. Brandon Baranzini may be the one of the best RBI-men in the area. For sure he gets the most out of his hits. The shortstop began the Rancho game hitting .255, but he had 13 RBIs. Against Rancho, he had a two-run triple in the Vikings four-run third inning.

With five games remaining on the regular North Bay League schedule, the Vikings and Cardinal Newman appear to be headed on a collision course with the league title at stake. Newman has lost once – to Montgomery. The rematch is May 6th. That should be a red-circle game on everyone’s calendar.